Article 15 (film)

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Article 15
Article 15 Poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byAnubhav Sinha
Produced byAnubhav Sinha
Zee Studios
Written byGaurav Solanki
Anubhav Sinha
StarringAyushmann Khurrana
Nassar
Manoj Pahwa
Kumud Mishra
Isha Talwar
Sayani Gupta
Mohammed Zeeshan Ayyub
Sushil Pandey
Music bySongs:
Anurag Saikia
Piyush Shankar
Devin Parker
Gingger Shankar
Score:
Mangesh Dhakde
CinematographyEwan Mulligan
Edited byYasha Ramchandani
Production
company
Benaras Media Works
Zee Studios
Distributed byZee Studios
Release date
  • 28 June 2019 (2019-06-28)[1]
Running time
130 minutes[2]
CountryIndia
LanguageHindi
Budget290 million[3][better source needed]
Box officeest. 930.8 million[4]

Article 15 is a 2019 Indian Hindi-language crime drama film[2] co-written by Gaurav Solanki, written, produced and directed by Anubhav Sinha,[5] and produced by Zee Studios. It stars Ayushmann Khurrana, Nassar, Manoj Pahwa, Kumud Mishra, Isha Talwar, Sayani Gupta, Sushil Pandey, Veen Harsh and Sumbul Touqeer, and follows a police investigation that commences after three teenage girls go missing from a small village.

The film deals with Article 15 of the Constitution of India, which prohibits discrimination on grounds of religion, race, caste, sex or place of birth.[6] While not based on one specific event, the film is inspired by multiple true life events, including the 2014 Badaun gang rape allegations and 2016 Una flogging incident.[7][8] Principal photography began on 1 March 2019 in Lucknow.[9] The film's soundtrack was composed by Anurag Saikia, Piyush Shankar, Devin Parker and Gingger with lyrics written by Rashmi Virag, Shakeel Azmi, Slow Cheeta, Dee MC, Kaam Bhaari and SpitFire, and released under the banner Zee Music Company.

Article 15 was the opening film for the 10th edition of London Indian Film Festival, premiering on 20 June 2019.[10][11] It was theatrically released in India on 28 June 2019. The film received positive reviews from critics for the sensitive portrayal of its subject matter,[12] and grossed over 931 million (US$13 million) worldwide to become a commercial success.

Plot[edit]

In the village of Laalgaon, two Dalit girls are seen trapped in a school bus by some men. Ayan Ranjan, a St. Stephen's College, Delhi graduate and an Indian Police Service officer, is assigned to Laalgaon as the Additional Superintendent of Police and is warmly welcomed by officers Brahmadatt Singh and Kisan Jatav. Ayan encounters various forms of caste discrimination as soon as he arrives in the village, and periodically shares what he observes over the phone to his wife, Aditi. Local villagers come to Ayan's reception asking the officers to find the missing girls, but are turned down. Ayan reunites with his college friend Satyendra Rai, who behaves suspiciously throughout the night.

The next morning, the girls are found hanged from a tree, while a third girl, Pooja, is reported missing. Ayan orders Brahmadatt to file a FIR and to obtain the postmortem report for the deceased girls. The girls' autopsy yields evidence that they were gang raped, but Brahmadatt prevents the release of this information and instead pushes a narrative suggesting that the girls, who were cousins, were intimate and thus hanged by their fathers in an honor killing. Meanwhile, Jatav and a junior officer are threatened and their vehicle set on fire by followers of Nishaad, the leader of a group of activists within the village who seek speedy justice for the crime. Ayan questions Jatav about this the next day and becomes determined to solve the case.

Gaura, Pooja's sister, informs Ayan that the girls used to work for a local builder named Anshu Naharia, who slapped Pooja after the girls asked for a raise in their salary of 3 rupees. Ayan decides to call Anshu for inquiry, even though Bhramadatt tries to persuade him not to do so, as Anshu is the son of local Chief Minister Ramlal Naharia. During his interrogation, Anshu says that he slapped the girls to remind their entire caste of their place in society. Ayan, disgusted by the moral corruption of the village and its police force, posts on the police bulletin board a copy of Article 15 of the Constitution of India, which prohibits discrimination based on race, sex, religion, caste or birthplace.

Ayan meets with Dr. Malti Ram, the assistant coroner who performed the autopsy, and finds out that contrary to her official report, the girls were raped and then murdered. He asks her to go to Lucknow to examine the DNA samples and to contact only him, realizing that local law enforcement is conspiring with Ramlal Naharia to cover up the case. Meanwhile, Mahantji, a Brahmin politician vying for a local election, has formed an alliance with the head of the Laalgaon Dalit community in a show of inter-caste unity, but Nishaad sees the display as a disingenuous political ploy and plans to protest it. Ayan tries to persuade Nishad to call off the protest so he has men to help search for Pooja; Nishaad refuses, but allows some of his men to aid Ayan's search.

Ayan soon gets a call from Malti, who confirms that Anshu was the one who gang-raped and murdered the two girls. Ayan gets an arrest warrant for Anshu and raids his house, but Anshu is not present. However, Ayan spots a school bus that was seen by local villagers around the time of the girls' disappearance, and investigates the nearby school (which is owned by Anshu), where he finds evidence from the scene of girls' torture and rape. Elsewhere, Anshu is staying under protection from Brahmadatt, who is revealed to be one of the rapists. Brahmadatt kills Anshu to save himself.

Panikar, a high-ranking CBI officer, arrives in Laalgaon and suspends Ayan from the case. Ayan refuses to give up his efforts and tracks down Satyendra, who admits that he was at a party hosted by Anshu the night of the crime, and that he witnessed Anshu, Brahmadatt, and police officer Nihal Singh (who works closely with Ayan) rape the girls while severely drunk and later hang their dead bodies. Ayan confronts Nihal, who commits suicide out of remorse.

Jatav arrests Brahmadatt on Ayan's command. Panikar attempts to threaten Ayan into dropping the case, but Ayan reveals he has already submitted all his evidence to the Home Minister, and sharply criticizes the bigotry and injustice against people of lower castes among Indian law enforcement. Ayan then leads other officers through a large swamp in search of Pooja. They emerge on the other side in a jungle where they find a severely dehydrated Pooja hiding inside a pipe. They rescue her and with her statement, Brahmadutt gets eleven years of imprisonment as punishment. Mahantji wins the election hands down.

Cast[edit]

Production[edit]

The storyline of the film is based on the socio-political situation of the country, post-independence time drawing inferences from true-life events researched over the last 6 months, akin to Mulk.[13] Giving details on Article 15 Anubhav Sinha stated that "this film is an investigative drama where the audience to is an accused party ... A very challenging film that needed an extraordinary actor like Ayushmann."[6]

Filming[edit]

The filming started on 1 March 2019 in Lucknow.[9][14] During filming on 14 March 2019, Khurrana the leading star of the film, and the team entered into swamp filled with leeches to shoot scenes of the film. He shared a picture of the team on Twitter.[15] The shooting of the film was completed in the first half of April 2019.[16]

Release[edit]

Article 15 had been selected as opening film for the 10th edition of London Indian Film Festival to be premiered on 20 June.[11] It was released in India on 28 June 2019.[1] It was made available for online streaming on Netflix.

Reception[edit]

Critical response[edit]

Article 15 received critical acclaim.[12] On review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds a rating of 89% based on eighteen reviews, with an average rating of 7.56/10.[17]

Anna M. M. Vetticad of Firstpost concurred with Sengupta and Sharma, gave four and a half stars out of five and found 'Sinha's unfaltering direction' was backed by Ewan Mulligan's 'unsparing cinematography' and a 'strong cast'. Concluding, she wrote, "Watching this film is an overwhelming emotional experience," and she opined, Article 15 is the best that Indian cinema can be in these troubled times if it chooses to hold a mirror up to our society..."[18] Raja Sen writing for Hindustan Times rated the film with four and a half star out of five and opined that the film is a tribute to Alan Parker the director of 1988 film Mississippi Burning. He praised Solanki and Sinha for honest writing, haunting shots by Mulligan and performances of ensemble. Ending his writing, he said, "Article 15 is not a film in search of easy answers. Instead, it is a reminder that we already know the questions but don't ask them enough. 'Not cool, sir'."[19] Vijayalakshmi Narayanan of Radio City gave the film four and a half stars out of five, and said "Coming to the cast, Ayushmann leads from the front and one cannot be thankful enough. The actor proves his mettle yet again when it comes to backing good scripts. He makes the right noise even in his moments of melancholy."[20]

Sreeparna Sengupta of The Times of India gave the film four stars out of five, praising performance of Ayushmann Khurrana, Manoj Pahwa, Kumud Mishra and Mohammed Zeeshan Ayyub, and background music and cinematography of Ewan Mulligan as well. She felt that Sinha had given another dimension to the narrative by surfacing the artful shades through the characters and setting. She opines, "Anubhav Sinha's Article 15 is designed like a crime thriller. What works for the film is that it's thought-provoking, hard-hitting while unflinchingly bringing to light burning social issues." Concluding, she wrote that the film is not a 'light watch', rather it is 'definitely relevant', 'compelling' and will start a debate.[21] Devesh Sharma reviewing for Filmfare rates the film with four stars out of five. He praised screenplay, dialogues and cinematography of the film apart from the performance of Khurrana and supporting cast. He recommends watching the film for its 'riveting performances' and its 'underlying message', and opines that the film presents the candid truth about contemporary society. Quoting Jack Nicholson's character from A Few Good Men – "You can't handle the truth" he hopes that the audience goes out to watch the film and 'learns to handle the truth...'[22] Priyanka Sinha Jha of CNN-News18, praising Khurrana and ensemble of Kumud Sharma, Manoj Pahwa, Sayani Gupta, Mohammed Zeeshan Ayyub, and M Nassar for their performances, rates the film with four stars out of five. Agreeing with Vetticad she writes, "Article 15 is remarkable in that it does not pontificate. It merely holds up the mirror to a society still entangled in age-old caste politics that absolutely overrides the modern ideals of liberty and equality." Concluding, she opines that Sinha has a knack of combining elements of popular film-making with realistic story-telling to give masterful films.[23] Writing for the NDTV Saibal Chatterjee, termed it a 'radical' film, tackling social issues. He praised Sinha and Gaurav Solanki for the screenplay and cast for effective performances. He concludes the review as, "[The film] remains true to the demands of the plot without losing control over its principal purpose – administering a bitter pill with just a hint of a sugar coating. It works wonderfully well. Article 15 is a not to be missed film."[24]

Mayur Sanap of Deccan Chronicle rated it four stars out of five and finds it a 'gripping social thriller'. He commended the performances and script, and concludes, "With Anubhav Sinha's straightforward and unflashy directorial style, the film proves to be an effective drama. It may be devoid of spectacle, but it is still full of zeal and warrants a must-watch."[25] Manjusha Radhakrishnan of Gulf News gave four stars out of five, and felt that the film was not easy to watch, however everyone should give it a chance. She opined, "Article 15 sobers you up instantly, but it also makes you think about Indian's complicated social segregation based on the accident of birth."[26] Lakshana N Palat of India Today rated it with three and a half stars out of five, praised the performances of cast and felt that the film's 'overly optimistic ending' was not in tune. According to him, despite rough around the edges and flawed in storytelling, it is worth watching. Agreeing with Sengupta, he opines, "It's a start. It cannot change society but it at least can initiate a conversation and debate that examines the horrors that lurk in this very society, invisible to our privileged eyes."[27] Bollywood Hungama rated the film three and a half stars out of five and praised Mulligan for cinematography, Nikhil Kovale for production design, Sinha and Solanki for story and screenplay. He commended performances of ensemble and direction of Sinha and felt that the look of the film was 'quite rich' and 'haunting' and that worked. He summed up the review as, "On the whole, ARTICLE 15 is a hard-hitting film that raises some important issues related to caste, that is plaguing the country."[28] Kunal Guha of Mumbai Mirror rated the film with three stars out of five and felt that it reminded of hateful atrocities, and wrote, "The film, however, gets a bit tiring in parts when the message seems to be incessantly hammered down." However, he praised the performances of ensemble.[29]

Box office[edit]

Article 15 had the opening day collection of 5.02 crore and opening weekend worldwide gross of 30.75 crore. In the opening week the film grossed 476.2 million worldwide. With gross of 776.2 million from India and 137.8 million from overseas, as of 31 July 2019, the film has grossed 917.0 million worldwide.[4][30]

Awards and nominations[edit]

List of awards and nominations
Award Date of ceremony Category Recipient(s) Result Ref(s)
Screen Awards 8 December 2019 Best Film (Critics) N/A Won [31]
Best Director (Critics) Anubhav Sinha
Best Actor (Critics) Ayushmann Khurrana
Best Story Anubhav Sinha and Gaurav Solanki
Best Screenplay
Best Cinematography Ewan Mulligan Nominated
Filmfare Awards 15 February 2020 Critics Award for Best Film Anubhav Sinha (tied with Abhishek Chaubey for Sonchiriya) Won [32]
Critics Award for Best Actor Ayushmann Khurrana
Best Story Anubhav Sinha and Gaurav Solanki
Best Supporting Actor Manoj Pahwa Nominated
Best Dialogue Anubhav Sinha and Gaurav Solanki
Best Screenplay
Best Background Score Mangesh Dhakde [33]
Best Cinematography Ewan Mulligan
Best Editing Yasha Ramchandani
Best Production Design Nikhil Kovale
Best Sound Design Kaamod L Kharade
Zee Cine Awards March 2020 Best Film (Critics) Anubhav Sinha Won [34]
Best Actor Ayushmann Khurrana Nominated
Best Story & Screenplay Anubhav Sinha, Gaurav Solanaki Won
Best Background Score Mangesh Dhakde Won
Best Cinematography Ewan Mulligan Nominated

Soundtrack[edit]

Article 15
Soundtrack album by
Anurag Saikia, Piyush Shankar, Devin Parkar and Gingger
Released14 June 2019[35]
Recorded2019
GenreFeature film soundtrack
Length26:55
LanguageHindi
LabelZee Music Company
Anurag Saikia chronology
Mulk
(2018)
Article 15
(2019)
Thappad
(2020)
External audio
Audio Jukebox on YouTube

The music of the film is composed by Anurag Saikia, Piyush Shankar, Devin Parker and Gingger while lyrics are written by Rashmi Virag, Shakeel Azmi, Slow Cheeta, Dee MC, Kaam Bhaari and Spit Fire. The Times of India based Debarati S Sen, in her review, said the album is "a fine example of original songs finding its way back into the Hindi film industry".[36]

Track listing
No.TitleLyricsMusicSinger(s)Length
1."Naina Yeh"Rashmi ViragPiyush ShankarYasser Desai, Akanksha Sharma5:29
2."Intezari"Shakeel AzmiAnurag SaikiaArmaan Malik5:08
3."Intezari" (Unplugged)Shakeel AzmiAnurag SaikiaAyushmann Khurrana4:46
4."Intezari" (Asees Version)Shakeel AzmiAnurag SaikiaAsees Kaur4:35
5."Kahab Toh"Shakeel AzmiAnurag SaikiaSayani Gupta3:12
6."Shuru Karein Kya"Slow Cheeta, Dee MC, Kaam Bhaari, Spit FireDevin Parker, GinggerSlow Cheeta, Dee MC, Kaam Bhaari, Spit Fire3:45
Total length:26:55

Home media[edit]

The film became available as VOD on Netflix in August 2019.[37]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Ayushmann Khurrana starrer 'Article 15' gets release date". Business Standard. 30 April 2019. Retrieved 10 May 2019.
  2. ^ a b "ARTICLE 15". British Board of Film Classification. Retrieved 18 June 2019.
  3. ^ "Article 15 – Movie – Box Office India". boxofficeindia.com.
  4. ^ a b "Article 15 Box Office". Bollywood Hungama. Retrieved 4 August 2019.
  5. ^ "I Believe Caste System Must Be Eradicated: Ayushmann on Article 15". The Quint. 31 May 2019.
  6. ^ a b "Details About Ayushmann Khurrana's Next FilmArticle 15 By Mulk Director". NDTV. 2 March 2019. Retrieved 9 March 2019.
  7. ^ "'Article 15' teaser: Ayushmann Khurrana's film on Badaun gangrape and murder is haunting". DNA India. 27 May 2019.
  8. ^ "Ayushmann Khurana's next 'Article 15' is inspired by true events!". Times of India. 25 May 2019. Retrieved 25 May 2019.
  9. ^ a b Taran Adarsh [@taran_adarsh] (6 March 2019). "IT'S OFFICIAL... Ayushmann Khurrana in Anubhav Sinha's next film #Article15... Costars Isha Talwar, Manoj Pahwa, Sayani Gupta, Kumud Mishra and Mohd Zeeshan Ayyub... Filming commenced on 1 March 2019 in #Lucknow... Ayushmann's look from the film: t.co/XGtrzhUNXq" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  10. ^ Singh, Raghuvendra (10 May 2019). "Article 15 to be screened at the London Indian Film Festival". Filmfare. Retrieved 10 May 2019.
  11. ^ a b "Ayushmann Khurrana's Article 15 to be screened at London Indian Film Festival 2019; Know more". India TV. 10 May 2019. Retrieved 10 May 2019.
  12. ^ a b "Article 15 movie review and rating: Critics' verdict on Ayushmann Khurrana's film". IB Times. 27 June 2019. Retrieved 29 June 2019.
  13. ^ "FIRST LOOK: Ayushmann Khurrana to play police officer in Anubhav Sinha's investigative drama titled Article 15". Bollywood Hungama. 6 March 2019. Retrieved 9 March 2019.
  14. ^ "When Ayushmann Khurrana discussed Article 15 with Taapsee Pannu at the Delhi airport". Times Now News 18. 7 March 2019. Retrieved 9 March 2019.
  15. ^ "Ayushmann Khurrana steps into a leech-filled swamp for Article 15 shoot, says team willing to bleed for Anubhav Sinha". Hindustan Times. 15 March 2019. Retrieved 15 March 2019.
  16. ^ "Ayushmann Khurrana wraps up Article 15, Anubhav Sinha gifts him a miniature model. See pic". Hindustan Times. 9 April 2019. Retrieved 7 May 2019.
  17. ^ "ARTICLE 15". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved 29 June 2019.
  18. ^ M. M. Vetticad, Anna (27 June 2019). "Article 15 movie review: Ayushmann Khurrana's restraint fits this gutsy, overwhelming take on Dalit abuse". Firstpost. Retrieved 27 June 2019.
  19. ^ Sen, Raja (28 June 2019). "Article 15 movie review: Ayushmann Khurrana stands tall in this essential film about cops and caste. 4.5 stars". Hindustan Times. Retrieved 28 June 2019.
  20. ^ "Article 15". Radiocity.in. Retrieved 2 July 2019.
  21. ^ Sengupta, Sreeparna (26 June 2019). "ARTICLE 15 MOVIE REVIEW". The Times of India. Retrieved 26 June 2019.
  22. ^ Sharma, Devesh (27 June 2019). "Movie Review: Article 15". Filmfare. Retrieved 27 June 2019.
  23. ^ Sinha Jha, Priyanka (27 June 2019). "Article 15 Movie Review: Ayushmann Khurrana and Anubhav Sinha Hold Up a Mirror to Modern India". CNN-News18. Retrieved 27 June 2019.
  24. ^ Chatterjee, Saibal (27 June 2019). "Article 15 Movie Review: Ayushmann Khurrana Leads An Effective Cast In This Radical Film". NDTV. Retrieved 27 June 2019.
  25. ^ Sanap, Mayur (26 June 2019). "Article 15 movie review: A topical, intelligent and compelling affair". Deccan Chronicle. Retrieved 27 June 2019.
  26. ^ Radhakrishnan, Manjusha (27 June 2019). "'Article 15' film review: A bold tale on India's caste divide". Gulf News. Retrieved 29 May 2019.
  27. ^ N Palat, Lakshana (28 June 2019). "Article 15 Movie Review: Ayushmann Khurrana film makes you uncomfortable". India Today. Retrieved 28 June 2019.
  28. ^ "Article 15 Movie Review". Bollywood Hungama. 26 June 2019. Retrieved 27 June 2019.
  29. ^ Guha, Kunal (27 May 2019). "Article 15 movie review: Ayushmann Khurrana, Isha Talwar-starrer serves as a bitter reminder of disdainful atrocities". Mumbai Mirror. Retrieved 27 May 2019.
  30. ^ "Bollywood Top Grossers Worldwide Bollywood Hungama". Bollywood Hungama. Retrieved 4 August 2019.
  31. ^ "Winners of Star Screen Awards 2019". Bollywood Hungama.
  32. ^ "Nominations for the 65th Amazon Filmfare Awards 2020 are out! – Times of India". The Times of India.
  33. ^ "Technical Nominations for the 65th Amazon Filmfare Awards 2020". filmfare.com.
  34. ^ "Zee Cine Awards 2020". Zee5.com.
  35. ^ "Article 15 – Original Motion Picture Soundtrack". Jio Saavn.
  36. ^ "Music review: Article 15 – Times of India". The Times of India. Retrieved 17 July 2019.
  37. ^ "Article 15". Netflix. August 2019. Retrieved 30 August 2019.

External links[edit]